Israel Palestine Conflict

Russia says ‘grateful’ to Hamas for release of Gaza hostages

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Moscow thanked Hamas on Thursday for freeing two Russian women hostages from Gaza, separate from a truce deal with Israel.

The statement came a day after Hamas released two Russian citizens in what it said was a move “in appreciation” of President Vladimir Putin.

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“We are grateful to the leadership of the Hamas movement for the positive response to our constant appeals,” Moscow’s foreign ministry said.

“We will continue to strive for the speedy release of the remaining Russians held in the Gaza Strip,” it added.

The women were handed to the Red Cross in Egypt via the Rafah crossing on Wednesday.

Last week, Hamas released another Russian citizen -- Ron Krivoy -- who was working as a sound operator at the Supernova festival in Israel when Hamas attacked.

He was also freed outside the truce deal with Israel.

“We note that the Russian citizens were given the possibility to come home without being bound by the fulfilment of the conditions agreed upon between Israel and Hamas,” Moscow said.

It did not say in its statement how many Russian citizens remain as hostages in Gaza.

Unlike many Western countries, Russia does not recognize Hamas as a terrorist organization and Putin has repeatedly called for the creation of a Palestinian state.

Moscow has maintained ties with both Israel and the Palestinians.

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